1900 - 1986

Tommy Tomson

Born in Zanesville, Ohio, with the given name Golden Sands, Tomson arrived in Los Angeles in the 1920s. Noticeable for his markedly good looks, Tomson originally intended to go into show business. When a screen test didn’t result in a studio contract, he switched career paths to become a self-taught landscape architect. In the midst of the Great Depression, and with little background, he obtained his first major commission when he was hired to create the landscape for Santa Anita Racetrack, which opened in 1934. In addition to Los Angeles Union Station and the Pan-Pacific Auditorium, Tomson did the landscape designs for countless residences, many belonging to Hollywood stars including Joan Crawford, Charles Boyer, and Henry Fonda. He also created the landscape for the largest of Los Angeles’ garden apartments, Park La Brea in 1942. In 1946, with his brothers-in-law Cliff and Randall Henderson, Tomson helped found the city of Palm Desert, creating the overall site plan and street layout and the landscapes for the Shadow Mountain Club and many private residences.